Addressing a Leaky Pipe

A pipe that’s believed to be leaking behind the drywall can present a major problem. Many homeowners notice a musty smell, a discoloration or bubbling of the drywall, the presence of mold, or a wet area of carpeting. Any of these can indicate a pipe is leaking within the wall. The best way to confirm this is the case, before tearing up the wall, is to bring in a professional such as the plumbing team from All Star Plumbing and Restoration. Once a leak has been confirmed many people immediately try to decide whether this is a DIY project or a plumber only situation. The short answer is – it depends. While not an incredibly difficult project, it’s certainly something that would require a more advanced level of home repair.

If you decide to tackle your leaky pipe yourself follow these steps as a general guide:

  1. Determine the location of the leak by looking for the spot with the most excessive amount of damage. This is likely where your problem lies.
  2. Cut out the area of drywall that has been damaged using a saw. You’ll have to replace soggy drywall either way and you’ll need access to the broken pipe.
  3. Find the exact spot on the pipe that the leak is originating from. If you can’t visually make this call, use a cloth. Wrap the cloth around the pipe and move it up and down slowly until it gets wet. This will help you figure out where your problem is.
  4. When you begin to remove the pipe you’re going to create a mess. So before that happens place a bucket under the area to catch as much as possible.
  5. Now get your pipe cutters and cut just below the leak. Of course you should turn the water off to the house prior to cutting anything. Open nearby faucets to drain as much water from the lines as possible. Cutting the pipe is actually fairly simple. Screw the pipe cutter on tightly and rotate it until the pipe is cut through.
  6. Thoroughly dry the section of pipe that’s just been cut so that you can begin to repair it.
  7. Use your pipe cutters again to cut above the area that’s leaking and remove the pipe.
  8. Clean the removed section of pipe inside and out.
  9. Add a copper repair sleeve. This will require you to use a blowtorch to heat the bottom of the repair sleeve. The solder will melt and fill in the joint. It will take about 10 minutes to cool then you can do the upper end. Always take safety precautions such as gloves and goggles when using a blowtorch.
  10. Confirm that the pipe no longer leaks and replace.
  11. Patch the damaged area of drywall. Depending on the size of the area you needed to remove this will require either a small patch or a new piece of drywall.
  12. Mud and sand the new drywall and you’re ready to repaint.

If this sounds like you’re being asked to climb Mount Everest, simply call All Star Plumbing and Restoration. We can handle the project from confirming the leak, to painting the new wall. This type of job requires a number of tools that many homeowners don’t have, and a significant amount of time and experience. All Star Plumbing and Restoration has the tools, time and talent to get it handled.

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